Pet Supplements

Oct 19, 2020   Tracey Aston   Diet and Nutrition

As pet parents we try our best to keep our pets healthy and happy. Proper nutrition, exercise, mental stimulation and positive training are all components to keeping our pets healthy.  As pet parents and even some veterinarians are leaning more towards homeopathic and drug free remedies, pet supplements are quickly becoming an integral part of complete wellness plan.

The most widely known pet supplement is glucosamine.  Glucosamine helps not only with joint pain but also but protecting the joints from breakdown by lubricating joints and connective tissue, cushioning cartilage and protecting cartilage from breakdown. Glucosamine is not a pain medication but helps reduce pain by allowing the joints to stay healthy and protected. Glucosamine is often partnered with Chondroitin and MSM and are available in many different forms from powder to pills. Dasuquin and Cosequin are a few of the name brand glucosamine supplements. After a two week maintenance period, glucosamine can be given once a day. As many glucosamine supplements have added ingredients such as chondroitin and MSM, it's important to follow the dosing instructions on the packaging.  Too much glucosamine can cause stomach issues such as nausea and diarrhea.

Coconut oil has many benefits for pets including relieving the symptoms of arthritis by lubricating joints to reducing swelling and inflammation, treating skin conditions including eczema, flea allergies, contact dermatitis, and dry, itchy skin and treats yeast and fungal infections. Coconut oil can be applied topically or given orally in food ¼ of a teaspoon per 10 lbs. twice a day.  Topically, coconut oil can be used on wounds as an antiseptic.

Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 teaspoon for small dogs and 1 tablespoon for medium and large dogs, can be given orally to improve digestion, combat yeast infections, relieve allergy symptoms, and supports joint health. Topically, it can be used to combat fleas and ticks.  Apple cider vinegar can be mixed 50/50 with water to make an ear rinse and help prevent ear infections.

Pets on high dosages of medications or with known kidney issues can benefit from milk thistle supplements.  Milk thistle helps with detoxification of the liver and kidneys, removes toxins and promotes healthy cell growth.

SAMe is an important amino acid nutrient that can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including liver disease, osteoarthritis, neuropathy and pain. SamE may cause stomach upset, so watch your pet for signs of nausea or indigestion.

Probiotics can often help pets with digestive issues. Pumpkin, yogurt and goat's milk are natural probiotics to help relieve nausea, diarrhea and acid reflux.

Slippery elm bark provides relief by coating and soothing the stomach and intestines and can sooth conditions such as IBS, stomach ulcers, colitis and gastritis. As it's packed with nutrients like vitamins A, B complex, C, K and calcium, magnesium and sodium, slippery elm helps to nourish the body.

Bone broth can also help with digestive issues but has many more benefits including joint rejuvenation, enhanced hydration and increased appetite.  Pets with appetite issues from medications, illness or treatments such as chemotherapy can benefit from bone broth as it contains nutritional value and will allow pets to ingest some nutrients.

Vitamin C is an immune booster and can help rebuild cells, combat illness or infections, including cancer, kennel cough, respiratory infections, abscesses, and other bacterial infections.

Raw, Organic Honey has antibacterial/antimicrobial properties. Raw honey can provide relief for allergies, soothes symptoms of kennel cough, and reduces gastrointestinal upset. Raw honey can be given a quarter-teaspoon per 20 pounds of body weight daily.

Turmeric supplements can aid in joint health, bowel diseases and as an antioxidant boosts the immune system. Turmeric has Anti-Inflammatory therefore can help with arthritis, diabetes and liver disease. Some studies are showing that curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, has anti-cancer properties and can help reduce the chance of cancer by stopping precancerous cells from becoming cancerous. Turmeric can be given to pets in powder, pill or paste form and many name brands are now offering turmeric and curcumin supplements available in many pet storesIf making turmeric paste to add to a pet's meal, it can be given ¼ teaspoon per 10 lbs. daily.  

Fish oil, also known as DHA or omega-3 fatty acids, benefits the immune system, heart health, joint health and skin and coat issues.  Fish oil is given 1000 mg per 20 lbs daily. If bought in a prepackaged pill or powder form, such as Zesty Paws Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil, follow the instructions on the packaging.

Lysine, an amino acid, is an important supplement for cats. Lysine can be used for recurring FHV-1 flare-ups, as well as supporting the immune system and treating symptoms of respiratory infections and disease.  Lysine is given 250mg twice a day.

Rescue Remedy, an organic blend of herbs is available in spray, liquid and melts. It can be used to relieve anxiety associated with storms, fireworks, trips to the veterinarian or even separation anxiety.

Many medications, steroids in particular, can cause side effects ranging from mild to severe. Supplements can be added to a pet's diet or wellness plan without the worry often associated with prescription medications.  While supplements are safer in general, they are not without any risk. Always speak with your pet's health care provider before adding supplements to your pet's wellness plan. 

 
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